Dutch ULSTEIN subsidiary Ulstein Idea Equipment Solutions completed the delivery, installation and testing of two pile gripper frames (PGF) to Offshore Wind Force JV on 2 June 2013.
The PGF’s will be used by DONG Energy West of Duddon Sands (UK) Limited and Scottish Power Renewables (WODS) Limited for the installation of mono-pile foundations in the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Windfarm offshore UK. The customised pile gripper frames combine smart engineering with the latest in control technology, and are unique in that they are retractable and the lower weight of their design makes them more cost-effective. The pile gripper frames are designed and built for operations in harsh weather conditions and will hold the mono-pile foundations securely in place whilst they are being hammered into the seabed.
“We are grateful to Offshore Wind Force for entrusting us with this project. Our close cooperation with them and our subcontractors in all phases of the project, from engineering and procurement through to construction and installation, has resulted in a quality end product with several unique attributes,” says Arjan Boezeman, Director of Concepts and Sales in Ulstein Idea Equipment Solutions. “Ulstein Idea has developed the pile gripper from study to final implementation. The design has been tailor-made for this project and also our specific operational requirements. This has resulted in a unique design which has proven to be cost-effective,” says Rob van Gemert, Project Director Offshore Wind Force. The jack-up platforms the PGFs are built for have increased cargo, crane and deck space capacity, allowing both 4-5 foundations (mono-piles) and the same number of transition pieces to be taken on board at the shore base and then be transported and installed offshore in one logistical sequence. In order to match this sequence, the PGFs have been made retractable, meaning that they can be lowered 12 metres down from the jack-up platform deck for the installation of each mono-pile foundation and then be raised to the deck again before the transition piece is installed. This unique property of the PGF design makes it possible to install the foundation and then grout the transition piece on top of the foundation in a singular process, optimising the utilisation of the jack-up platform’s capacity. “This PGF design sets a new standard for mission equipment for the offshore installation market. Its unique combination of functionalities and robust design contributes to safe and cost-efficient installation of mono-pile foundations,” ends Boezeman.